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Stay-at-Home Moms Are Not Who You Think

Stay-at-Home Moms Are Not Who You Think

South Florida Sun-Sentinel

When Adriana Bell had her first child, she kept working. But as a customer-service agent for an airline, she worked many nights, weekends and holidays. For Bell, who grew up in Colombia, that was not the American dream. So when her son Nicholas was 4, she quit and became a stay-at-home mom.

“My priority is family, and the schedule was killing me,” said Bell, 43. “Sometimes I had to stay at the airport until 2 or 3 in the morning. That was breaking my heart.”

Bell represents a surprise in the latest census data. In a study of stay-at-home moms released today, the U.S. Census Bureau found that of the 5.6 million stay-at-home moms in the country in 2007, more than a quarter were Hispanic, even though Hispanic women represent just 13 percent of the nation’s population. Slightly more than 60 percent were white, and a very small proportion were either black or Asian. The report represents the first time the Census Bureau has done a detailed analysis of stay-at-home moms, said Rose Kreider, family demographer with the Census Bureau. Though the data, collected in early 2007, do not reflect many of the changes wrought by the recession, Kreider said that, because unemployed workers who are staying home with kids but still looking for a job would not fit the definition of a stay-at-home parent, the data likely won’t vary greatly in the next few years.

The data, she said, showed some trends that buck conventional wisdom about stay-at-home moms.

“The norms about who works and who stays home with the kids may differ somewhat” from what we see portrayed on television, in magazines and the movies, Kreider said.

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